Failed Attempt at a Thank You

November 3, 2008
By Rebecca Deffler, South Plainfield, NJ

I never say thank you.
I used to say thank you,
but I have since stopped
because people never
really appreciate
how much those two words
can mean to someone.
And whether spoken
or whispered
or sung
or shown,
thank you's should never
have gone out of style.

For years,
I put my rubbish
on the corner in my can.
Never did I think
where it went,
how it got there,
who took it away.

Until one day
when this guy stopped me
and said,
"Joe, my god,
you have a lot of trash."
I replied,
"Sorry, buddy,
I never thought about it."

The next day,
I didn't put my trash out.
I took it
to the dump myself.
Finally, I appreciated
all the work
our garbage-men do.

I made a tribute,
a statue of a faerie
out of my used goods
and stood it
on the lawn
of the office
of the removal company
to show my thanks.

The man from before,
he thanked me
very kindly
for my statue but told me
very kindly
that I was littering,
and his boss wanted
the statue gone the next day.

I marched in to see the boss,
the very man in charge.
And I told him,
"Listen. I made this statue
for your men because they
are some of the finest men
in the entire city."
He told me he knew
but I was crazy
becaue he wasn't leaving
a pile of trash
on the lawn
of the office
of the removal company.
"It gives us a bad image."

"You're a garbage company!"
I didn't understand,
but I knew I wasn't wanted.
And I accepted that.
And I packed up my statue
and I drove around back
and I put that statue
in the dump, where he wanted it.

The author's comments:
This poem is inspired by and written in the style of Joe Weil, a local New Jersey poet who has appeared at the Geraldine Dodge Poetry Festival.

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